Agriculture News
Steuben County
February 2022
Dear Readers:

The snow is actively falling and winter is here!

Please read on for the newest happenings from CCE on agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources topics.
Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Committee
Ed Merry
Chris Comstock
Allison Lavine
Gary Mahany
Cody Lafler
Kevin Costello
Joe Castrechino
Legislative Representatives
Hilda Lando
Fred Potter
We are hiring an Agriculture educator!
Want to make a difference in Steuben County by supporting our farmers and the general public with education? 
Free Masks!

We have KN95 Masks at our office that were given to us to distribute from Steuben County Public Health. Please contact us at 607-664-2300 or email if you would like us to put some aside for you. You can also stop into our office at the Steuben County Building Annex at 20 East Morris Street in Bath.
Are you a farmer impacted by flooding in the Summer of 2021? Two loans are available in Steuben County.

Notice has been given that Steuben and other counties were given a natural disaster designation for the flooding events that occurred in August 2021.

Click here to learn about EIDL SBA Loans at a 2% interest rate. Use the number 17224 0 for the number assigned to the disaster - Application Deadline is July 8, 2022.
March 21 - March 25, 2022 is Agricultural Literacy Week!

In celebration of New York agriculture, volunteers throughout the state will read a book with an agricultural theme to elementary students. Around NYS, thousands of books were donated last year while tens of thousands students participated in this event. Steuben County is participating! Our office will be reaching out to schools and libraries in February and early March to participate.

Thinking about a solar lease? Here are 5 things you should consider.

Rural landowners across the Southwest New York Region, and New York State in general, have been receiving invitations from solar companies to lease their land for utility scale solar arrays. While this has been around for several years, the general trend of increasing renewable energy sources has spurred lots of conversations about the potential benefits, pitfalls, and logistics of hosting solar arrays on your property.
One thing to note is that solar leases are rarely something landowners should feel pressured to rush right into. Careful consideration, consultation with legal counsel, and an evaluation of the role such a lease would play into a farm business plan are all important steps before signing on the dotted line. Here are 5 things to consider as you think about leasing your land for solar.

1.      The Benefits of Solar Leases: Solar energy is an important part of reducing carbon emissions and meeting statewide, national, and global efforts of increasing renewable energy sources. As a landowner, a solar lease can also provide a steady income stream, ranging from $250 - $2500/acre/year. While this isn’t as profitable on a per acre basis as other production options, for unused or marginal land, solar leases can help diversify farm revenues. There are several companies in our area recruiting land parcels for solar development, which could work to your advantage! Research and contact developers in your area for the best lease rates and agreements.

2.      Solar Leases and Your Farm Business Plan: Having a farm business plan in place is so much more than a dusty binder sitting on a shelf in the farm office. A business plan tells you where you’re going, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and what other types of opportunities you’d like to explore. Depending on your farm’s business plan, stage in the business life cycle, and succession planning goals, solar may help spur new growth or hinder new investment opportunities. A solar lease can affect how you might use that land in the future, which could include mortgages, property sale, production diversification, expansion, or generational use.

3.      You’ll Need Legal Counsel: Lease agreements are living documents that can be adapted to meet your needs. This could range from including provisions that protect actively farming around the solar arrays (apiaries, small ruminant grazing and market garden production), hunting, right of ways, insurance and liability concerns, and more. Leases can range in length from 20 to 40+ years, and it’s important to have a sound and fair lease in place from the beginning. There’s very little chance of changing the lease terms once it’s in place.

4.      Effect on Property Taxes: If you’re currently receiving an Agricultural Assessment, or other property tax reduction, taking the land out of production agriculture and into a solar array may require paying some of those reductions back and conversion penalties (you can typically negotiate that the solar company pays these costs). A solar array can sometimes increase the value of your property and your tax obligations. Once the land is in a lease, the solar developer should also be responsible for any real property taxes, PILOT payments, etc. There is a renewable energy tax exemption that will protect increases for a 15 year period, but this often expires before the lease does – and many towns in our region have opted out of this program. Be sure to research potential tax implications prior to negotiating the lease agreement.

5.      “THE UGLY”: You may have heard some horror stories related to array construction, maintenance, and disassembly. Much of this can be negotiated with sound legal counsel who is familiar with solar arrays into your lease agreement. However, things do (and probably will) happen and you should be prepared to handle these issues on your property. Some areas of concern include:
·        Construction debris during the installation phase, traffic, and potential interruptions to your farming practices.
·        Dismantling the solar equipment at the end of the lease and the oversight of that process, which should be laid out in very specific terms in the lease. Be sure to include specifications of the quality of the property (returning it back to production).
·        Security, assurances, and/or bonds in place to cover the termination of the lease and equipment in the case of developer bankruptcy or missed payments.
·        Company transitions with the nature of the renewable energy industry, your lease will likely change hands several times and you will need to navigate those ownership changes.
·        Local zoning approvals may be a breeze or a community uproar depending on your area and could delay a potential project.
Solar leases and their potential impact on our agricultural industry can be both and exciting and an intimidating topic of conversation. While the situation will vary from farm to farm, developer to developer, and community to community – the most important thing will be reaching out to sound legal counsel to negotiate a fair agreement and reflecting on your farm’s business goals.

For more information, visit any of these great resources below:

Contact Katelyn Walley-Stoll at or 716-640-0522 for more information.
Speaking of Solar Leasing... Register to join CCE, Penn State Extension, and NY & PA Farm Bureaus for a four-part series: Navigating the Leasing Process of Utility-Scale and Community Solar in New York and Pennsylvania

Who is this for?
  • Landowners
  • Those wanting to lease part or all of their land

What will you learn?
  • Why solar is rapidly expanding in New York and Pennsylvania
  • The overall trends driving this emergence
  • What companies look for in land, and why it is often farmland
  • Farmland and open space impacts
  • The contractual details which will be a part of an option/lease agreement landowners might be offered to sign

Save the dates:
Session 1: 02/02/2022 from 12:00 – 1:15
Session 2: 02/23/2022 from 12:00 – 1:15
Session 3: 03/16/2022 from 12:00 – 1:15
Session 4: 03/23/2022 from 12:00 – 1:15
If you have any questions or need help registering contact Dana M Havas at or (607)391-2664
Attention FLX Grape Growers -
Registration for B.E.V. NY is Open!

Tuesday, March 29 – Thursday, March 31, 2022

Time to put this year’s B.E.V. NY conference on your calendar and get signed up to attend! After a lot of conversation and consideration (and input from some of you as well), we have decided that we are going to hold this year’s conference as a fully virtual event again, as we did in 2021. And just like last year, your $100 registration fee allows you to “attend” as much or as little of the conference as you want. The “all you can eat buffet” for business, enology and viticulture information, or as we Norwegians would call it, a smorgasbord.

Preparing for and Accessing
Wool Pools Webinar

This event will be a conversation on wool pools and what makes quality wool. There will be two main topics:
1.) NYS Wool Pools
- NYS wool pool locations and times
- Contacting and contributing to NYS wool pools
- Options when wool pools are far away

2.) Understanding Wool Quality from a Wool Buyer's Perspective
- What is quality wool?
- What is properly packaged wool?
- What affects raw wool pricing?

Registration is required. You can register through this link: or by contacting Dana M. Havas at or (607)391-2664. Hosted by the SWNYDLFC Team.
Assess Your Farm Business Health within a Farm Financial Peer Learning Circles
Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Business Management Specialist and Team Leader
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

Cornell Small Farms Program (CSFP) and Cornell Cooperative Extension are teaming up with diversified farmers like you to analyze your farm's finances and have productive, honest discussions about the state of your business and opportunities for improving your financial outcomes.
  • This winter we'll work in small groups to assess and streamline your farm's accounting system and customize your Chart of Accounts so you can make better business decisions and compare your business to standardized industry and peer benchmarks.
  • Learning alongside peer farmers will help you better understand the typical, the possible, and the totally unexpected in farm finances. You'll participate in five roundtable sessions (March-August 2022) alongside peer farmers operating at similar scales throughout NYS to discuss financial decision-making opportunities, such as debt and loan assessment, labor management and costs, and price models for crops and market channels. 
  • You'll receive detailed financial benchmarks that compare key indicators for your farm with similar peer farms. You'll also receive a free electronic tablet. Allowing you to continue connecting with CCE and your peers for ongoing support!

Dates and Participation:
  • Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 15, 2022.
  • Project kick-off date: An introductory session for accepted participants will be held Thursday, February 24, 2022.
  • Participants should be willing to share basic financial information, which will be standardized using a ratios format, with their small peer group. Privacy and confidentiality will be agreed upon by all.

This work is supported through the Cornell Small Farms Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension and a generous grant from the New York State Department of Ag and Markets.

If you have questions you may reach out to CSFP Project Manager, Nicole Waters.
** Your Advertisement Here! **
Dear Readers,
Through this publication, CCE Steuben serves farmers, agribusinesses, and county residents of all ages interested in current agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources topics. You can contribute a logo and/or have space for a promotional message to reach the local agriculture community.
$120.00 for the entire 2022 year (12 editions)
$15.00 per month
Contact Anne at 607-664-2300 or email her here for more details.
John May Farm Safety Fund

Dr. John May started NYCAMH in the early 1980s along with his Bassett colleague, Dr. David Pratt, to address the dangers faced by farmers. They developed a farm safety program that incorporated education, immunizations, and safety programs for small and medium-sized farms. Dr. May's work is nationally recognized, receiving such distinctions as the Journal of Agromedicine "Leader in the Field" award, the NYS Agricultural Society "Farm Safety Award" and the NIOSH "Partnering Award for Worker Health and Safety." The John May Farm Safety Fund honors his profound dedication to the agricultural community by providing financial assistance to make necessary safety improvements on small and medium-sized farms.

The John May Farm Safety Fund provides financial assistance for New York farmers to improve safety on their farms. Past projects have covered: repairing broken fences, mitigating drainage problems, replacing outdated machinery, purchasing and installing power take-off (PTO) shields, fixing unprotected drop-offs, and repairing unsafe electrical systems.

Show Me the Money!
What Growers Need to Know about Business Lending
If you want a lender to show you the money, it helps to understand that business lending is as much art as science. This virtual panel discussion with three lenders is open to anyone who would like to know more about the many factors that lenders consider when deciding to make loans. Attendees can expect practical guidance on how to ascertain whether a lender can meet their needs and how to prepare to meet with a lender. The panel discussion will be followed by audience Q&A as well as time to meet lenders, successful borrowers, and other participants in chat rooms.
The event is being co-hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County (CCE Erie) and Buffalo Go Green (BGG) on Thursday, February 17, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., via Zoom. There is no cost to participate. Registration is required.
Register online or contact Jolie Hibit (716) 652-5400 ext 176 /

Free Tickets at the CCE Steuben Office!

The New York Farm Show will be Thursday through Saturday, February 24-26 in Syracuse, NY at the NYS Fair Grounds.
Tickets are $5 at the door.

The New York Farm Show is the leading farm show in the Northeast since 1985. The show hosts more than 400 exhibitors displaying the latest in farm equipment, tractors, combines and farm implements; seed and crop protection products; farm supplies and services, dairy and beef production, woodlot and related industry supplies.

Check out some of these Zoom classes from Cornell Small Farms!

Thursdays: February 25 – April 1, 2021
Grazing is more than simply turning livestock out onto a green pasture and hoping for the best. With sound grazing management, you can reduce workload, keep animals happier and healthier, and improve the overall productivity and profitability of your farm.
Tuesdays: February 22 – March 29, 2022
Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop and can easily be grown. This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, marketing and economics of farm scale indoor commercial production.
Wednesdays: February 23 – March 30, 2022
Tree fruit are an important component of the agricultural and homeowner landscape. This course trains beginning tree fruit growers in fundamental concepts in orchard planning and management.
Soil Health
Mondays: February 21 – March 28, 2022
The health and productivity of the soil forms the basis for any farm’s success, profitability, and ecological sustainability. Be a successful farmer by developing a holistic approach to preserving and building soil health and fertility through this course.
Mondays: February 21 – March 28, 2022
Are you trying to navigate the legalities of owning a farm? This course helps early stage farmers assess and manage a variety of risks that they will face, including the business, tax, and regulatory implications of your farm.

Click the link titles to register for the above classes!
Dear Readers,
FLFC is a collaborative effort between the regional CCE offices and their respective counties' visitor centers. You may have seen the logo or heard of the Agritourism Trail project in the last year or so. We are continually building and adding visitor information to the website at no cost to you. If you are interested in having your farm listed on the site, please complete the survey or reach out to Kevin Peterson, contact information below.

Did You Know?

Finger Lakes Farm Country is a regional agritourism program that combines agriculture and tourism to promote the abundance of agricultural resources in the southern Finger Lakes. Through a collaborative approach to marketing and promotion, the program creates a memorable brand for agritourism attractions and businesses in the area, while showcasing educational and recreational activities for visitors to the region.

In an effort to sustain local farms and create an environment for entrepreneurism, Finger Lakes Farm Country will promote the region’s abundant agritourism resources through a variety of marketing strategies. The Finger Lakes Farm Country region includes the counties of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Yates.

Interested in Joining?

if you have questions about Finger Lakes Farm Country please contact Kevin Peterson at or call 607-936-6544
Dairy Market Watch

Please access the latest Dairy Market Watch here . For those that get printed newsletters, it is included as an insert with each edition.


  • 6+ acres for lease for organic cultivation. Must have ag exemption. Call (607) 483-8758 between 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM, M – F.

  • Available For Rent: Steuben County SWCD has an Esch 10’ No-Till Drill for rent. Rates are $12-$25/acre based on number of acres planted. Delivery/pickup available. Please call (607)776-7398 ext.3 for more information.

  • Seeking conservation minded individual with interests in permaculture to rent 3-4 acre, gentle grade, southern exposure field for agricultural production in Steuben County, NY. Acceptable practices include organic vegetable production, small scale poultry, and organic greenhouse or high tunnel production. Other considerations will be determined by owner. Improved, uncultivated ground will require proper preparation for success. Currently no housing available on the property, but can be discussed with owner in the future. Contact CCE Steuben at (607)664-2574 for further information.

  • Attention Cattle Farmers: I have pasture/farmland for rent, 40-50 acres, reasonable rate. Located in Steuben County on State Rt. 63. Contact Marian Crawford at (585)728-5303.

  • Looking for a farmer interested in a lease agreement for approximately 40 - 50 acres in Howard at the intersection of CR69 and Dublin Road. Please call Bill at (484)794-1400 for more information.